Do you know Hygge?
Fall and winter can be tough times of year. It’s a beautiful season, but we know that cold weather is coming, and so is a long spell of short days and long nights.
The lack of light triggers a condition called seasonal affective disorder in some people. It can show up as sadness, fatigue, and lack of energy.
This is a natural response to the onset of darkness. Our circadian rhythms regulate not only sleep but all the systems in our body. If we are feeling stressed the darkness can make us feel sluggish to the point of being low-energy or depressed.
In Scandinavia, they get through long stretches of darkness by embracing it. People in Denmark enter into a mindset called “hygge.” They light candles, bundle up, and see the winter as a time for coziness and contentment. It’s a season of reading in comfy chairs, playing soft music, and finding quiet ways to relax the body and mind.
Hygge is a type of mindfulness, a choice to focus on the positive aspects of late fall and winter. It’s a healthy response to what we cannot control—the absence of light.
And part of that mindfulness can be taking the time to do some deep breathing and to cultivate stillness in the body.
As you begin to slow your breath down, imagine the space all around you and inside of you. Breathe with your entire body imaging every cell in your body is breathing. Listen to the gentle sound of your breath, feel the natural rhythm of your belly as you breathe. Relax your jaw and shoulders. Feel grateful for the chance to be quiet and calm. Find happiness as you embrace the stillness and space inside of you and all around you.